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mutinous or even vicious incumbent is firmly entrenched behind the parson's freehold.

Lastly, there are problems of Church property which urgently demand a courageous solution. The root of half our evils lies in the fact that the Church has no power to deal with her own endowments. For, in point of law, the endowments of each parish belong not to the Church, but to the parish, and can be enjoyed only by the incumbent, who practically cannot be removed except by voluntary resignation or by death. The resulting scandals, though notorious enough, are not indeed very numerous; and they might be tolerated if the parson's freehold were beneficial to the majority. But, in fact, it is the effect upon the majority which is the main evil. Security is the average man's undoing. There are few incumbents whose work does not deteriorate after ten or twelve years in one place. Except in rare cases it would be far better for the parson to know that he must move at the end of a fixed term of years. A man with popular gifts generally gets many offers of preferment. But a better man, if he happens to fail in one parish, is not likely to get a fresh opportunity. Indeed, the tragedy of the square man condemned to remain for life in a round hole, just because he does not fit it, deserves far more attention than it receives. Not only does his personal suffering claim our sympathy; the loss to the Church, caused by his inevitable deterioration and the discouraging effect of his example, is a ground of alarm.

The 'parson's freehold,' in fact, is as great an incubus upon religion as the headmaster's freehold, till about fifty years ago, was upon education. No reform has done more for secondary education than the law which gave the governing body of every endowed school the power to dismiss the headmaster. A far less drastic change-the mere limitation of tenure-would do as much for the Church; for it would solve half the problems of discipline, and would put new life and hope into the rank and file of the clergy. But it cannot be accomplished until the endowments of each diocese are pooled and redistributed upon reasonable lines.*

Dr Headlam's valuable little book, though it does not advocate so radical a change as pooling, gives an effective statement of the need for

If space allowed this outline to be filled in, the case for reform would appear much stronger. But even the above bare statement goes far to justify the words which Mr Douglas Eyre, one of the Committee, has added in an Appendix (p. 69): I think the Church had far better make up its mind, before Parliament is approached, that it needs an entire reconstruction.' At least many will go so far with him as to say that the Committee's Scheme, with all its merits, is not adequate either to the situation which they have described or to the principles which they have acknowledged.

The main lines of the Scheme are simple, and have been generally approved. The government of the Church is to be, in a modified sense, representative. Existing institutions are to be adapted and developed, and only one quite new one is to be added. This last is, however, very important, being the basis of the whole fabric. Every parish is to have a Parochial Council, elected by the parishioners, men and women alike, who are members of the Church. The incumbent and other resident clergy are to be ex officio members; but the laymen will always be a majority. The Parochial Council is to elect lay representatives to the Ruridecanal Conference, where they will sit with the clergy of the Rural Deanery. The laity of this Conference, in turn, is to send representatives to the Diocesan Conference, in a number equal to that of the clergy who sit there. Finally, the lay members of the Diocesan Conference are to elect a number of representatives proportioned to the population of the Diocese, who will form the House of Laymen in the Church Council. The House of Clergy in this Council is to consist partly of ex officio members and partly of members elected by the clergy of each archdeaconry. There will also be an Upper House, consisting of the diocesan and other bishops. In fact, the Church Council is a statutory replica of the unofficial body now called the Representative Church Council.

It is proposed that this Church Council shall have power to pass measures dealing with the affairs of the Church; and that such measures, after lying on the

reform, and shows how much might be done by a Church Council possessed of real powers.

table in Parliament for forty days without protest, shall become law. Thus Parliament will be spared the labour of discussing details, but will either accept or reject each complete and well-considered measure as a whole.

Of the two intermediate councils little need be said, for little is said in the Report. Ruridecanal Conferences at present have no real work to do; and the scheme gives them no duty except the election of representatives on their Diocesan Conference. But there is one obvious criticism. Why should not women be allowed to be members of these Conferences as well as of the Parochial Councils? There may be good reasons at present for excluding them from the Church Council. But their zeal for religion, their service to the Church, and their knowledge of its working, entitle them to share the deliberations of all the lesser assemblies.

The Diocesan Conferences are just now reorganising themselves, largely for the sake of putting diocesan finance on a better footing. Probably the authors of the Report are wise in reserving suggestions until it appears what functions these bodies find for themselves. The one duty which the Report assigns to them, that of electing representatives on the Church Council, must be regarded as temporary. For a system of indirect election in three stages, though almost inevitable at first, will not be tolerated when once the people begin to take a real interest in the government of the Church. The success of the Scheme will not be assured until there arises a serious demand for direct election to the Church Council. Like various other questions concerning the Conferences, that belongs to the future. For the present the discussion of the Scheme must centre round the Parochial Councils and the Church Council.

The importance of the Parochial Councils is very great; for, so long as election to the higher councils is indirect, it is in the choice of the Parochial Council alone that the ordinary Church member will have any personal interest. Unless these councils have real and important work to do, the best parishioners will decline to serve on them; and, under the system of indirect election, this would be disastrous. For the quality of the persons elected at each stage of the process by which the Church Council is ultimately constituted will depend upon the

quality of the persons elected in the first instance to the Parochial Councils.'*

Two points, then, have to be considered-the franchise in these primary elections, and the functions assigned to the Parochial Councils. The franchise is thus defined:

'Qualified electors in a parish must be above 21 years of age, and may belong to either sex, provided that they either (1) are actual communicants, or (2) have been baptised and confirmed and are admissible to Holy Communion, and do not belong to any religious body which is not in communion with the Church of England.'

Warned by the historic scandals of the Test Act, the Committee have put aside the suggestion of a communicant franchise. They have done wisely. But are they wise in substituting the test of confirmation? They justify it by the assumption (p. 42) that in confirmation alone men and women 'accept Church membership as a reality.' While this is all they say in favour of this compromise, several reasons may be urged against it.

(1) The strong prejudice which admittedly exists in the minds of artisans makes it almost impossible for boys, and difficult for girls, to be confirmed after they leave school; so that the great majority of those who are confirmed are presented at the age of thirteen or twelve or even ten. It is mere affectation to speak of such children as 'having accepted church membership as a reality.' For quite another reason that description cannot fairly be applied to all members of the well-to-do classes who have been confirmed. It requires almost as much courage in a public-school boy to decline confirmation as in a working lad to seek it. So that, in fact, confirmation is to some extent a class distinction; and awkward inferences might be drawn from the attempt to make it the condition of the Church franchise.

(2) The prejudice mentioned above is not altogether without excuse in history. Originally the laying-on of hands was an essential part of baptism, which was administered only to adults. The two rites are still united by the Eastern Church, which entrusts both to the priest. But the Western Church, reserving one part to the

* 'Memorandum of the Council of the Churchmen's Union.'

bishop, was obliged, when infant baptism became the rule, to make confirmation a separate rite, administered at a later age. It would have been well, when the change was made, to insist upon the close connexion of the two rites, and to lay the chief stress upon that which involved a conscious act on the part of the recipient. The course actually taken was the reverse. St Paul's description of adult baptism, as the seal of personal repentance and faith, was unintelligently transferred to the baptism of infants. Our own Church missed the opportunity for revision which the Reformation afforded, and included the traditional view in her catechism. So long as every child is taught that infant baptism is 'a death unto sin and a new birth unto righteousness' which has made him 'a member of Christ, a child of God, and an inheritor of the kingdom of heaven,' so long will there be some excuse for the feeling that to be confirmed is a work of supererogation. Such, in fact, is the feeling of millions who claim to be loyal Churchmen. However much we may regret it, we have to deal with facts as they are. And how can the Church refuse her franchise to those whom her own baptismal service pronounce to be regenerate and grafted into the body of Christ'? She cannot logically insist upon confirmation as a test until she has revised her definition of the effects which are produced by infant baptism. And who will venture to fix a date for that revision?

(3) How far the other Anglican Churches were influenced by those considerations is a matter of conjecture. But it is certain that no one of them has adopted the confirmation test. Broadly speaking, they admit to the franchise all adults of good character who have been baptised and declare themselves to be members of the Anglican communion. The results are said to be satisfactory; and it would be rash to disregard them.

(4) The adoption of a communicant franchise would alienate many good people from the Church. The Report says, quite truly, that it does not destroy the existing rights of such parishioners as are not qualified electors'; and yet the suggested inference is misleading. For the 'unqualified' will certainly not acquiesce in their own exclusion, when the reason assigned is so debateable.

(5) The last clause in the definition of a 'qualified

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